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Caffeine often gets an (unfair) bad rap.

We’re told it’s addictive…

That it dehydrates you…

And that coffee can be very high in empty calories.

Well, there’s some truth in that.

Clearly, with the amount of coffee some folks guzzle, it can have addictive properties. 

(Though if you’re sensible about it, it’s not too tough to keep things under control.)

Caffeine does have a mild diuretic effect.

Though I stress the word MILD.

Unless you’re pounding triple espressos, the liquid in most coffee drinks more than makes up for any slight dehydration.

And as for the calories thing?

Well, if you’re training hard, extra calories aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

Plus, black coffee is more or less calorie-free, and even a basic latte, cappuccino or flat white only comes in at 100-200 calories.

Provided you hold the syrup, obviously.

So caffeine really isn’t that bad.

And actually, it can have a lot of benefits for triathletes.

Numerous studies have shown that a moderate caffeine intake (around 2 cups a day) can help intermediate and advanced athletes:


  • Increase their time to exhaustion.

  • Reduce RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion.)

  • Replenish muscle glycogen.

  • Aid with calcium transport, which supports muscle contractions.

And obviously, it gives you that “buzz” as well.

Clearly, the advice at Brownlee Fitness isn’t to drop £50 at your local Starbucks everyday.

But caffeine is one of the most widely researched performance enhancers.

And so for most people, not only is it safe, but moderate consumption can aid performance. 

Just be aware that it’s not JUST coffee that contains caffeine.

Some teas have caffeine in, and a lot of your energy gels, blocks and chews may do too.

So double check that caffeine content before your next training session or race, to ensure you get a performance boost, and don’t end up a quivering, jittery, caffeine-filled wreck!



Brownlee Fitness


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